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Police block HH release celebrations in Western ProvinceBy Mirriam Chabala on 20 Aug 2017
United Party for National Development Western Province spokesperson Nyambe Mulumbwana says police have stopped party supporters from celebrating Hakainde Hichilema’s release.
In an interview with News Diggers! yesterday, Mulumbwana explained that police cited security concerns.
“What happened is that on Thursday after our president [Hakainde Hichilema] was released on Wednesday, we decided to inform the police of our celebrations which were supposed to take place today [Saturday] so that we can celebrate at our party offices but the police told us that we can’t have the celebrations today because it is against the Public Order Act then they also told us that they could not grant us the permit because the officers were not ready to marshal our in-house celebrations then thereafter, they said we need to follow the Public Order Act which provides for informing the police seven days before the day of gathering,” Mulumbwana said.
“So we were telling them to say how could we do that when we didn’t even know that he was going to come out from prison and so we asked them that you should sometimes do things in public interest and allow it to overwrite certain provisions but they still refused to say we were supposed to abide.”
Mulumbwana lamented that police were not fair in the execution of their duties.
“Anyway, in any case we know that if it was PF they were going to allow them but it’s just that we are in opposition and even the other reason that they don’t have man power to come and do security for internal gathering is baseless because all along we have our own marshals, we have our own youths even during elections police were never near us all this time that we have been doing our gathering, our activities police have never been near us so the reason to say that we don’t have officers to come doesn’t hold water because we have enough youth in our party that can provide security,” he said.
“So we will just do our celebrations next week Saturday, I think by then we would have given them enough time to go through our forms. And on that Saturday whether they like it or not we are going to conduct those celebrations because we are receiving calls all over the province that they [police] need to say something about our gathering and we are going to have a celebration at our office because we have started preparing and a lot of people are coming. They are showing biasness towards the opposition, for them what they want is to please PF and it’s like they are working under command from PF and the whole idea is to suppress the opposition.”
Mulumbwana said the threatened state of emergency did not mean that people’s rights had been taken away.
“And just to tell you, yesterday the same officer in-charge told us that even if you bring new applications for a permit we can’t guarantee you that we are going to allow you because we are under the Threatened State of Emergency. That is ridiculous, that emergency does not take away the basic human rights like that of gathering. That State of Emergency does not allow them to do any of those things, it is just there to protect us all not to cartel freedom. But we are not really shocked about their behaviour because we know that most of our are colleagues in the police now are being threatened by the cadres but for us we have told them that next Saturday they just have to tell us and we are not interested in any compensations because UPND has been a peaceful party and you know our president has been calling for dialogue the whole time,” said Mulumbwana.
About Mirriam Chabala
Mirriam Chabala is a Zambian journalist who covers current affairs and writes in-depth feature articles on social issues.
Email: mirriam [at] diggers [dot] news
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